South Asian grocery store brings taste of India to Bordentown
Jul 18, 2014 08:06AM, Published by Community News Service, Categories: Food+Dining
By Lisa Zola-DeLibero
There is a sign behind the counter at Swagat that reads “Every day in every way we are getting better.” For Jaswinder Singh, the owner of the South Asian grocery store, his passion for running a business is all about quality.
Singh’s wife Gagan had a dream. She wanted a grocery store where she could buy certain foods that she, her husband and her family enjoyed without having to make a 13-mile trek from Bordentown to get there. Last July, the couple opened Swagat, and now, they only have to travel a mile or two up the road to the store they own with the food they love.
After receiving a degree in electronic engineering, Singh began his career in the IT field along with his wife. After working in the field for several years, Singh and his family, son Angad and daughter Ayesha, moved to Bordentown. He opened up two gas stations: an Exxon on Route 206 in Princeton in 2010 and a CITGO in Ewing the following year. With experience in running a business, Singh decided to open up the South Asian grocery store after another store in the area with similar goods went out of business.
“My landlord called me to let me know there was a spot that was available at 186 US 130 South, next to Barracks Trading Post,” Singh said. “My wife and I decided to pursue this. There was open space for us to build on. We had an architect draw out the plans with a rough design, and everything went from there.”
A specialty store, Swagat sells groceries for customers who like foods and drinks from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Egypt and the Middle East. There is an entire section of fresh produce and fresh and frozen vegetables, like peas, eggplant, jackfruit and many others.
There are four or five varieties of Atta, such as whole wheat, Sona Masoori and Gram, as well as rice, including Jasmine, Basmati and Parbolied. The store also has a large selection of ground and whole spices, such as bay leaves, black pepper, garam, cinnamon, cumin, coriander seeds and masala.
“We sell a frozen pizza that is called Naan,” Singh said. “You can get it with jalapenos, eggplant, spinach, pesto and number of other varieties. All of our frozen foods, including our meats, such as chicken, beef, and lamb, and fish, are reasonably priced.”
The best selling item in the store is the Samosa, which is similar to a stuffed pastry that comes either fresh or frozen.
“It is made of deep fried flour that is wrapped in a certain way that you can have ingredients such as spinach, potatoes, cheese, peas, and many other things in it,” Singh said. “They are delicious, and so are our Deep, Kawon, Haldirams and Pillsbury Indian breads.”
Singh’s store also has a wide variety of desserts and sweet treats.
“We have what is called Kulfi,” Singh said. “It is like ice cream, but it has more milk and less water. We also have Rasmalai, a Bengali dessert made of cheese balls in creamy milk flavored with cardamom powder, and many other desserts, like cookies, that our customers enjoy.”
For people on the go who need a quick meal in five minutes, Swagat sells ready-to-eat food in a pouch that can be thrown in the microwave.
Swagat also has a large selection of juices and other drinks, including the popular coconut water, sweet buttermilk and even the Indian Coca-Cola Company soda called “Thumbs-Up.”
Swagat sells a number of attractive pieces to spruce up the look of a home, often used as decorations above doors.
“We even sell Indian chewing tobacco,” Singh said. “It is sold here legally, and can only be found in Indian stores.”
The store is always clean, and stocked. Eli, Singh’s “buddy” and best helper in the store, keeps the place in shape, and customers always find what they are looking for.
“If someone asks for something that we don’t have,” Singh said, “we go out and get it so that the customer can buy it the next time they come in.”
To show his appreciation to his customers, Singh offers a coupon that can be found at Pakore.com.
Swagat is located at 186 US 130 South. Phone: (609) 379-6107.